The Arisen arrange for some of their cultists to research the three mages. Others will travel and meet them in Rome. Shen asks for a quick lesson on currency and prices from his cultists.
The next day they meet Scaevello, Marduk and Stheno at the appointed place. There is a circle surrounded by symbols painted on a wall. Ti’a touches it and uses her Model of Live Web power to discern that it’s going to be used to open a portal to travel through. Stheno says she’ll be travelling with the three. Then she casts a spell and the portal opens. The Arisen follow her through. They are greeted by a horrible stench, heat and humidity. There are two men in the room they enter. One of them is really pale white and his hair is reddish. The other guy looks Egyptian. Stheno introduces them as Felix and Persecus.
They tell the Arisen what’s going on in Rome. Caesar took control of the city and extended voting rights to everyone. He installed “The Fire Watch” so that the community is responsible for making sure that a fire doesn’t break out in the city.
Felix describes himself as a barbarian – one of the Gaels. That’s why he has an accent. He also tells us that there are rumors that some of the senators are members of the Brotherhood. He knows of the Antonius that the Arisen seek. His whereabouts are unknown but they know he is connected to the Juliai. The Juliai are a group of vampires. He also gets help from some men who walk as wolves.
Felix offers to get the trio set up with housing. He leads them through Rome stopping occasionally to say hello to people who give him money. He tells the Arisen that those people are his patrons. They occasionally ask favors of him. He leads the Arisen to a tavern and directs them to three rooms upstairs. He arranges to meet with them the next morning.
Once the Arisen are alone, Ti’a suggests that Samehd call a ghost to search for Antonius. Shen suggests the ghosts should also get information on the walking dead and the wolf-men. Samehd calls forth a spirit. The ghost agrees but asks him to claim his body from the sewer and bury it. Samehd agrees. The ghost gives him the location of the body then leaves on his quest.
Shen goes off to learn about the city while Ti’a joins Samehd in his search for the body. They pass men in armor, see graffiti on the walls and pass beggars and prostitutes. Enter the sewer at the designated location and find the body. It’s being eaten by large rats. They try to chase the rats away but they won’t budge. One starts to approach Samehd. He kicks at it and causes it to crawl away. The other rats follow. The pair hear a raspy voice from the shadows ask, “Why did you do that?” Then a small form steps out. It’s wrapped in rags and looks starved. Samehd tells him that it was going to attack him and he can’t have rats eating the body.
The form says his name is Massiato and that the pair is different – not part of the pact. He says the rats are his servants. He feed them his blood. Although the pact says the bodies that fall in the sewer should remain there, he will let the Arisen take it if they agree to come back and speak with him.
Meanwhile Shen wanders around the market place using a power to find murderers to see if any of them are mages, to get familiar with the city and find something interesting to eat. He sees a few murderers. He finds one that is supernatural and that his morality is not human. This man has a red band around one sleeve and many defer to him. Shen follows one of the people that talks to that man and learns that his name is Senator Lupo. Lupo is one of the Senators that welcome Caesar. His daughter, Aesinia, is in one of Caesar’s closer circles. Senator Lupo hands out money to some people and other men with red bands on their arms talk to him but seem leery of him.
Shen approaches Lupo and introduces himself as Atticus. Lupo surreptitiously sniffs him. Shen asks for his patronage. Lupo asks for lesion in Persian for his daughter in exchange. Shen agrees to go to Lupo’s house the next day.
After Samehd and Ti’a bury the body, they see a Temple of Azar’s Wife (Osiris & Isis). They discuss returning to the temple at a later time.
Back at the tavern, the ghost returns. He tells the Arisen he couldn’t find Antonius but he did find a group of vampires under the senate. One of them no longer has any human in him. They spoke in high Latin and talked about what they were going to do about Caesar.
The Arisen head to Persecus and Felix’s house. Ti’a helps Shen convince Persecus to speak Persian to them for an hour. He recites an epic poem and the Arisen quickly learn the language. After that they return to the sewer with Shen to speak with Massiato.
Massiato tells them about the Pact. It’s for supernatural only. Rome is a city of over 500,000. The architects are building to house more. Many non-living come to the city as well. The Pact was created to let them all cohabitate. The Brotherhood of the Black Star is threatening the Pact. Many have left the Pact to join the cult. The cult is trying to awaken Immael who will empower Antonius. His power will let the werewolves destroy everything. The vampires hope the power will be shared. Antonius is not human. He’s been in Rome for three years. He kills vampires against the Brotherhood. Shen asks how his trio can join the Pact. Massiato agrees to begin the process for them. It includes giving charms to people the Pact doesn’t want the vampires to feed off of.
Massiato says the vampires the ghost found under the sewers are part of the Brotherhood. The human senate fears an emperor. The vampire senate wishes to choose and groom the emperor. Hey do not choose Caesar. He’s too independent plus he’s made decisions that they don’t like, like taking power from the senate and giving it to the populace. Caesar is human but like all great leaders, people claim that he is wolf blooded.
Massiato’s clan works as eyes & ears for the Pact. They can use animals to get information. They’ve been searching for Antonius.
The Pact’s leaders included members from each of the factions – walking dead, magi, wolf men and fae. The Arisen must meet them to join the Pact and they must join one of the factions. 40 years ago a man shaped out of clay came. He joined the dead but had to leave when things started to go wrong around him.
The arisen arrange to meet Massiato the next night to learn what the Pact says about their petition. Shen suggests they each use an assumed name. He already chose Atticus. Ti’a chooses Amelia and Samehd selects Gaius.
They return to the tavern to sleep. Shen uses a power to give the trio’s contacts dreams so they will interact favorably with the Arisen. Before they sleep, the ghost returns. He thinks he’d discovered Antonius’ location. Antonius is like the Arisen but different. What he describes is a Deceived. The ghost can’t get to Antonius behind a wall at the temple of Baal, a desert cow god.
The Arisen explore the city. Ti’a is amazed at the architecture like the aqueducts. Shen is still in search of new food. They also take time to visit the Temple of Isis.
The Temple is filled with lots of Roman Women. Their rituals are close but not what the Arisen expected. The priestess is holding a staff that’s a relic. Shen can tell that she’s not human. Her morality is similar to Lupo’s. There are many scorpions, a sign of Isis, running around the temple. The Arisen pay their respects to the goddess using their own rituals. The priestess smiles at their archaic acts.
Later that day they head to Senator Lupo’s home. Lupo is well-built and has a thick beard. Lupo answer’s Samehd’s question by saying that his daughter needs to learn Persian because she may be travelling to that country as a diplomat.
The Arisen’s first glimpse of Aesinia is of her dueling with a man as large as her father. The man is fighting with a sword and she is using a staff. Shen tells his friends that she’s like her father. Her opponent is mortal.